An Interview with Robin Neudorfer in Sierra Madre, California

Artist interview: Robin Neudorfer in Sierra Madre, CA.

When I featured Robin’s work Fair Oak’s Pharmacy & Soda Fountain here on the gallery it became an instant hit. Back then the gallery had far less members than it does now - and nearly every single member had viewed that painting. That was a first for the gallery. So, you could say, I owe some of the success of The Watercolor Gallery to Robin’s excellent work.

Robin is a student of art. And a good one too. She received a full scholarship to the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California which paid off since she graduated with honors. And she didn’t stop at that - Robin’s Flickr profile mentions that she’s “Working full time on her art.”

To me that doesn’t mean that she’s a fulltime artist. As in, that’s just her job. To me it means much more. To me it means that she’s still working every single day on being the best artist that she can be. If you follow her blog - you can see that she is still growing in her skill and talent and love of art.

I couldn’t be more pleased that Robin accepted to do this interview so enough from me - lets see what she has to say shall we?

Robin, how did you get started in watercolor?

“I began watercolor at a very young age. As a pre-teen my mom connected me to an artist that taught me the medium in exchange for modeling. Then when I was at Art Center College of Design, studying Industrial Design, watercolor and gouache were the mediums used for rendering designs.

It is the medium I am most comfortable with.”

How have your tools changed from when you got started until now, and what are your favorite tools currently?

“Wanting to make a 180º shift from commercial art to fine art, I moved away from gouache and watercolor, while I learned the fine art of oil painting. Stretching myself while plein air painting, and learning some of the masters craft when painting grisalles. I have also taught myself soft pastels, and reconnected with charcoal. Being able to draw with a charcoal pencil, has brought me full circle. Now I can focus on what I see, how I see it, and how it touches my soul.

I tend to stay with the traditional tools and products. At this time I don’t do much experimenting. I have so many stories and images in my head to put on paper, I stick with charcoal, pastel, watercolor and oil.”

How do you prefer to work? Plein air, from a photograph, from memory? At a desk, outdoors, in a closet?

“I need a little bit of all of it. If I am cooped up indoors too long, I need to get out and be actively connected with the light. When I have had enough of the bugs and weather, I crave the warmth of my studio and my cat. When I need to be challenged, I go find a figure drawing session. When I need to tune out life, I can pick up my board with a charcoal drawing in progress, and let my mind wander.”

What has been your favorite painting or painting experience?

“The one that stands out the most, is…. (long story).

When I moved away from home the first time after college. I was up in the San Francisco Bay area. I was going through a local magazine and saw a painting that struck me. Here I was a commercial artist / designer in The City and yet this painting of Koi fish captured me so much, that I cut it out and kept it in my wallet. Not sure if I was wanting to learn more about the artist or what made me carry it with me. But living in the area I went to the museums often, and found this artists work in their collections, as well as in collective shows. I then went to NY with my husband for the first time, and when walking in SoHo, I turned to look across the street at a prominent gallery and there in real life was “my picture”. It was enormous. At that time he was painting in oils, but he used them thin, and with such luminosity, that you had to look close to be sure they were not watercolor. I had to run in to the gallery and learn more about the artist. I learned that he had lived not far from where I did in SF, but he had recently moved to the South of France. I bought a book on the gentleman and read it cover to cover, and searched out his work when I could. Fast forward… the internet allowed me to do research on him, and I sent him a note via the gallery in N.Y. Telling how much I was inspired by his work. He responded with the grace I had felt in his work. It was quite touching.

I was placed on the gallery mailing list and received a note of an upcoming show of his, in 2006. My husband travels quite often to NY quite for business, so I asked him to spend a moment at the gallery and give me a report. He offered something better. I was able to go to NY to the opening show to meet the Artist, who had for so many years inspired me. He is a gentle man and a prolific watercolorist. He touches me in ways that are difficult to put into words. I admire his work and his being.

Synchronicity is powerful.”

Name two watercolor artists, perhaps those who are currently inspiring you, that you’d like to have do this interview also.

Joseph Raffael and John Salminen.”

Thanks so much to Robin for taking the time to share her insight and experiences with The Watercolor Gallery. For more interviews with some of the artists that have been featured in the gallery look through our Artist Interviews page.